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How to go from New DBA to Advanced DBA

26 December,2014 by Tom Collins

How to go from a New DBA into a Advanced DBA Specialist  is about thinking strategically. In a previous post on DBA career growth, I discussed a way to progress and enhance your DBA skills.

In this post – I consider how to transition into an Advanced DBA in landscape moving towards increased investment in Business Intelligence and Big Data solutions.

A new DBA tends to fit into standardised process . They spend time learning and developing skills to fulfil DBA tasks. IT operations efficiency is heavily dependent on standardising procedures. The procedures are supported by documentation, scripting and automation.

Junior to Mid Level DBA skills

Backup and Restore procedures

Monitoring and fixing errors

Query Tuning

Disaster Recovery Procedures

SQL Server installations

A number of factors contribute to these DBA tasks becoming less dependent on daily input from the DBA. That doesn’t mean DBAs aren’t involved – but the involvement is more about escalation and troubleshooting.

These tasks are becoming more integral to vendor products – to the point where many of these tasks are built-in to the product. It is not uncommon for products to have built-in archiving, tuning and other administrative tasks.

Decreasing DBA costs

These tasks become repeatable and eventually can transition into Operations with escalation to the DBA. From a cost perspective this makes sense. Typically it costs less to manage operational tasks in this way .

How does the DBA progress their skills where they are handling more advanced and complex skills?

A  logical progression from the new DBA skills into Advanced DBA would lead into these example areas. Notice the scope is wider. In the example of tuning , we go from Query Tuning to Systems performance Tuning.  i.e a wider perspective on the application stack 

Advanced DBA skills

Advanced tuning incorporating systems beyond the database server

Knowledge of  other Database systems  , such as PostgreSQLMongoDB  , DB2 LUW 

Knowledge and management of Tier 1 critical applications.

Data Architecture management

Reviewing and Analysing third party applications.

By expanding the scope of knowledge to a systems wide approach the DBA is positioned to support Business Intelligence , customer needs, and Big Data initiatives. A wider perspective leads to offering consulting and technical support across all data initiatives.7 Twitter Feeds every SQL Server DBA should follow

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Author: Tom Collins (


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